“God will NOT tolerate your blatant rejection of His Lordship on your life, King Manasseh. You have crossed so many of His lines laid out for His people that He will excise His judgement on you. Of that you can be sure.”
Manasseh stared at the messenger with a grin. “I prefer to worship things I can see. I see nothing wrong with admiring the stars in all their grandeur. The witches and sorcerers give me access into the spirit world when I want them to. Please take your ‘Lord’ with you as you leave.”
Tears rolled down the cheeks of God’s prophet as he dropped to his knees. “The Assyrians are on their way to lead you to Babylon by your nose. God will NOT be mocked. ‘There shall be no other gods before Me.’ If you turn from your wicked ways He will hear from His throne on high.”
Manasseh laughed. “Babylon’s a pretty long way to be led by one’s nose. Are you sure you didn’t mean Egypt? I’d much rather see where we were kept as slaves for 400 years. I mean, as long as we’re making travel arrangements and all.”
With a wave of his hand two guards lifted the prophet to his feet and escorted him out of the throne room.
During a fitful night of tossing and turning Manasseh rose and decided to walk the palace roof. He admired the stars as he breathed in the night’s coolness. He focused on one star for a time deciding what to name it. A bright light slashed across the sky as it descended and disappeared. When he tried to relocate his star it seemed to have vanished. A chill crept up his spine and lifted all the hairs on his neck.
Manasseh tightened his robe around him as he returned to his bed.
After breakfast Manasseh went to the temple to offer sacrifices on the altars he’d set up there. The carved image he made greeted him with a cold stare.
A loud crash followed by shouting brought him out into the street. The confusion of everybody running froze him in his tracks.
The Assyrian soldiers recognized the kings wardrobe and carried him to their general.
Shackles were placed on his hands and feet.
The general approached with a sharp hook. “Hold his head steady, men.”
The pain of the hook into his nose brought the site of God’s prophet to his mind. The tears had to be wiped on his shoulders.
The long trek to Babylon took many days. Each night Manasseh searched the sky for his star. He knew what constellations pointed to it. His attempted always ended in vain.
The words of the prophet echoed in his head. ‘If you turn from your wicked ways God will hear from His throne on high.’
The day finally came in Babylon when Manasseh tore his clothes and dropped to his knees. “Jehovah God, I’ve been wrong in following other gods. There is no one higher than You. You are the only God. There is no other, only You. I don’t deserve to ask this, but, I know You can restore me to the throne over Your people as You will.”
The door to his windowless room flew open. One of his aides came in. “There’s been a civil war in Assyria. We’re free to return home.”
Manasseh awoke during the night on the trek back to Judah. The stars held a distant fascination tonight. He stood and looked for the old star he thought he saw that night in Jerusalem. He located the constellations that pointed to the spot in the sky.
Manasseh’s tears fell to the ground as his hands were raised straight up to the Maker of the stars when he found “his” star again.
“You are my God and my LORD!”
In this study of men who were kings of Judah during their teenage years we’ve seen a few who started out good, but, finished poorly. Manasseh is a contrary king.
His dad, Hezekiah, was a good king. But, for whatever reason, Manasseh decided to go the opposite direction in worshiping God when he became king at the age of twelve.
If you can think of anything bad a king could do in those days Manasseh did it. I won’t go into the details, you can read them in 2 Chronicles 33 and 2 Kings 21.
God knew He needed to step in and take action before His people totally forgot about Him. So, he gave Manasseh a time-out in Babylon.
It turned out to be exactly what Manasseh needed. Because he made an about-face and tore down all the idols and altars he previously set up against God to worship only God.
So, you see, God can change the hearts of any leader when He chooses. Our assignment is to pray for our leaders to follow God’s leading. It’s between them and God as to whether they do it or not.
It’s not just leaders God can change. He’s in the business of changing everybody who comes to Him with a broken heart.
If you know of a loved one who has decided they can live without God in their life pray earnestly for them. Don’t give up on God stepping into their life in a mighty way.
It may take them hitting rock bottom before they come to their senses and see their need for God’s deliverance. Your prayers may be the only thing that brings them to the point of looking up to the God of the universe for salvation.
Stay diligent. Speak truth to them in love. God can bring those offerings to their mind when they most need them.
The Holy Spirit is ultimately the One responsible for changing their heart toward God. It’s our duty to give the Spirit something to work with.
God is still in the business of changing lives. He’s called us to help in this effort.
Let’s do our best to draw people’s attention to God in love.
I’ll see you later. Wade